“Belterra Casino Indy 300.”

Judds provide celebrity moments
for Indy Racing fans at Sparta

By Don Ward

SPARTA, Ky. (September 2004) – Accomplished actress and Kentucky native Ashley Judd served as the grand marshal of the Indy Racing League “Belterra Casino Indy 300” IndyCar Series race at Kentucky Speedway on Aug. 15.

Wynona Judd

Photo by Don Ward

Wynnona Judd seems
to enjoy all the attention.

“Being an eighth generation Kentuckian, a University of Kentucky graduate and one of America’s top actresses, Ms. Judd is certainly the perfect choice to join us for a showcase event at Kentucky’s largest motorsports facility. That she is willing to participate in our event is a testament of her allegiance to our great state,” Kentucky Speedway Executive Vice President and General Manager Mark F. Cassis said in announcing her selection.
Judd is married to IRL driver Dario Franchitti, an Italian who was raised in Edinburgh, Scotland. The couple resides in Nashville, Tenn.
Prior to giving the ceremonial “Gentlemen, start your engines,” command, Judd, wearing sunglasses and a white hat that covered much of her face, took a few moments on ABC-TV’s national television broadcast to thank her fellow Kentuckians for their support for her family and urged them to cheer for her husband. Judd then spent the entire race watching from her husband’s pits, along with her sister, Wynonna Judd. Wynonna Judd and her mother, Naomi, have become one of the biggest duets in the history of country music. The came on the scene in 1984. In 1992, Wynonna launched her solo career. In 1994, she was named the Female Vocalist of the Year by the Academy of Country Music. After the race, Ashley and her two small dogs waited for her husband by their helicopter, parked in the infield grass. Besides driving race cars for a living, Franchitti is a licensed helicopter pilot.

Ashley Judd & Dario Franchitti

Photo by Don Ward

Ashley Judd joins her husband, IRL
driver Dario Franchitti, on pit
row prior to the start of the
“Betlerra Casino Indy 300.”

Ashley Judd is currently starring as ‘Linda Lee Porter’ in “De Lovely” and most recently starred in the feature film “Twisted” and on Broadway as ‘Maggie’ in Tennessee Williams’ “Cat on a Hot Tin Roof.” She also is the Worldwide Spokesperson for Youth Aids International.

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